Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer can surely do better than Norwich City

By Euan Davidson

June 24, 2021

As we reported earlier, Norwich City insiders are suggesting a deal for Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer is “well down the track”.

With speculation rumbling on, following Ajer’s very public request for a move from Glasgow, and his contract expiring in 2022, the Norwegian will have his pick of clubs. Fine, AC Milan may have pulled out, but Newcastle United, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig are reportedly keen.

So why, then, is Kristoffer Ajer considering a move to Norwich City?

Now, we mean no disrespect here. By all measures, the Norfolk side are a respectable outfit. They’ve given us Chris Sutton, and they’ve also made us look daft for selling Teemu Pukki. They boast a loyal support, and a great stadium in Carrow Road. But compared to other options on the table, this surely isn’t the best one for his development.

Fine, yes; it does tick a couple of boxes. First-team football? Surely. A top 5 league? Yep [Sky Sports]. Additionally, they boast an excellent coach in German tactician Daniel Farke. However, it seems like more of a risk than an ambitious leap, and in terms of stature, it’s a step down from playing at Celtic.

An exciting seven days for Celtic fans is about to get underway

Celtic man Kristoffer Ajer needs to really think about Norwich City move

Now, this isn’t going to turn into a “but Gary Hooper” piece. Injury issues [Transfermarkt] impeded the ex-Celtic star, and it’s not an entirely fair case study. Hooper was desperate to get into the England team, and scoring goals in the Premier League might well have done that for him. That it didn’t work out that way is no knock against the former Scunthorpe man.

That said, it is interesting to compare to a degree. Just as Hooper would’ve seen fewer chances at Norwich than he did at Celtic, a lot will be asked of Kristoffer Ajer if he joins. The Canaries will undoubtedly cede possession against most teams they come up against. That’ll lead to chances, and really high-quality performances will be needed from Ajer if he’s to play for a Premier League relegation candidate.

A battler: Kristoffer Ajer / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Whereas, if he moved to Bayer Leverkusen or Leipzig, he could legitimately challenge for trophies again, and learn on the job in an environment where ball dominance will be the name of the game. Whether they can offer the same wages seems moot; he’s going to be making a decent living wherever he goes next, and already is doing so at Celtic.

It just seems like Ajer can do better than Norwich, and Norwich can probably do better than him. Undoubtedly, there’s potential in the defender; he’s an international footballer for Norway. If he’s able to iron out his defensive frailties, namely his aerial duels, then he could be top-class. Don’t get this wrong; I’m a huge fan of his.

But it’s a gamble for him, one that could genuinely make or break his career. The window to succeed in the Premier League is wafer-thin; a few bad games and you’re a write-off. Fair play to him if he wants the pressure of that kind of move, but for both parties it seems ill-advised.

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